Sunday, January 31, 2010

Build a Nest

I discovered a new website that I am in love with ~ Build a Nest ~

I found it a few weeks before Christmas and picked out a couple of pieces for Phil to get me.
Here is one of them below and you can see the other here .  It's a great website for a great cause.
They have jewelery, clothing, shoes, things for children, purses and items for the home.









Saturday, January 30, 2010

General Detoxing Guidelines

I mentioned in a previous post details of a fast I had done a year or so ago. Apart from healing my stomach condition, I lost several pounds, detoxed from caffeine and sugar, felt energized (after about day 3) and in general consider it a positive experience. There are many different ways to detox and the process/results are different for everyone. Keep in mind:
  1. your general health (you may want to check with your doctor before beginning)
  2. any medications you are on (it can affect their effectiveness)
  3. how long you want to do it (what activities do you have already planned that may make a detox difficult) 
  4. what results you are wanting to achieve  
Some reasons to consider a detox are to prevent disease, to feel energized, to jump start weight loss, to reset your eating habits, to release toxins from the body, to give your organs a rest and to help tune into what is going on with your body. We do so many things on auto pilot that we may be missing the signals our body is giving us. Giving your body a rest from digesting and processing foods, allows it to focus on repairing other issues that may be going on within. Some signs that your body may need to detox are:reoccurring headaches, joint pains, hives/rashes, anxiety, constipation, insomnia or sleeplessness and sinus congestion to name a few.

I find it helpful to document "the before," including:
  • your weight
  • energy levels
  • sleeping habits
  • any other issues you are hopeful to see improvement in
Then, when I was going to detox, I bought a large piece of poster board and wrote 10 things I wanted to accomplish with my fast. For me this included improving my energy, the sheer desire to start and finish a fast, detox from coffee and, of course, rid myself of my stomach pain. I hung the poster board up in my kitchen and was reminded, everytime I  was in the kitchen, of why I was doing what I was doing. This really helped on the days when I wanted to give up, when I wanted to cheat and just as a general motivator when I was losing steam.

I would recommend that before your fast take a few days to a week and begin cutting out caffeine, dairy, meat and processed foods in general. Drink more water and simplify your foods a bit. This will help you ease into the fast and will help minimize the detox side effects, lessening how intense they are and how long they last.

A few potential side effects (these should last a couple days to a week or more, but will lessen in intensity and then disappear)
  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • depression
  • headaches
I have never done a water fast and would not recommend it for someone who is new to detoxing. A juice or smoothie fasts would be a good place to start (homemade, not store bought) or eating raw foods until dinner then for dinner eating simple vegan meals (ie: baked potato, whole wheat pastas with homemade sauce or brown rice and lightly steamed vegetable, etc), or even the master cleanse fast. Include plenty of water, herbal teas are allowed also. The key is to cut out the foods that create disease, aches and pains, congestion and acidity within your body: meat, dairy, refined sugars, caffeine, processed foods, additives, preservatives and the like.

Remember:
  • to listen to your body 
  • to decide the length of your fast before beginning
  • to plan ahead
  • use organic ingredients when ever you can
  • exercising/stretching will assist your body in releasing toxins
  • documenting the process helps keep you on track 
  • the first three days are the most difficult
  • a positive frame of mind will make all the difference
Come out of your cleanse in the same way you eased into it. If you do a juice or smoothie fast, begin eating again by consuming raw foods and then very bland or lightly steamed cooked foods. You don't want to upset your system with aggravating foods.

Store Available

I have added a store to the right. I will add items to it that I reference and other things that I am especially fond of!! Feel free to check it out and order books, etc through this link. Thanks

Friday, January 29, 2010

Cheap and Delicious!!

My Lebanese husband introduced me years ago to two of my favorite dishes: Moujadra and Red Beans and Rice (unlike any red beans I had previously had). Besides being sooo wonderfully tasty, they are both pretty cheap to make, extremely filling and great when the weather is cold. Learning to properly caramelize onions is the key to both dishes!

Moujadra (I have seen 3-4 different spellings) is a Lebanese dish that is great hot or cold. It consists of only 4 ingredients and is really inexpensive.

1 cup of uncooked brown lentils
1 cup rice (I have used brown or white-though honestly white rice tastes the best)
1 t salt
anywhere from 2-5 onions, julienned

Cook lentils in 6 cups of boiling water and cook for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, add the rice and salt and return the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15-25 more minutes, until both the rice and lentils are cooked through.

In a separate pan/skillet, saute the onions in about 1/4 c olive oil. You want to caramelize the onions, where they begin to release their sugars, darken and shrivel. Stir occasionally, caramelizing the onions is the key to the flavor of this dish.

Assuming all the water has been absorbed in the lentil/rice dish, once cooked, stir in the caramelized onions and stir together.

(Sometimes we love to mix soy sour cream and hot sauce on our moujadra, but it's perfect as is!!)


Red Beans and Rice

2 cans dark red kidney beans (buy organic since it does not contain high fructose corn syrup)
1 small can tomato paste
2-5 onions, julienned

enough cooked rice for 2-4 people

Over med -high heat caramelize the onions (My husband does this on high heat and it turns out better but I tend to burn the onions when I try..go figure)

In a large saucepan, caramelize the onions in 1/4 c olive oil. Once onions are done, add in both cans of dark red kidney beans, including liquid. Then fill up both cans to the top with water and add water to saucepan. Then add in can of tomato paste. Stir everything (the tomato paste will mix in as the ingredients start to heat up). Stir occasionally until everything is mixed together. Then turn it down to about medium low and let it cook, simmering for up to an hour or so. Add salt once it's done-start with 1/2 -1 t and taste before adding more. Serve over rice.

(You can add several cloves of garlic when you add the beans and cook them til they are soft and easily mashed. It adds great flavor and is great for the immune system. If you don't have time to cook the red beans for 40-60 minutes-helps flavors to develop-, it can be eaten in a little less time, just steam the garlic in a steamer and then add to the red beans and rice)

These are both great with a steamed veggie or salad. We also like to make hummus and pita chips as a side.
Apart from their both being higher in fat...these dishes are packed with protein, antioxidants and fiber.

Cooking

Here is a list of the cookbooks I love and use all the time!
  • Veganomicon - I love, love this cookbook. written by Isa and Terry of the Post Punk Kitchen, it has some of the best food I have had as a vegan in it. Tons of recipes and it's a funny read too. Try the: BBQ Seitan and Crispy Coleslaw Sandwich. I made it for my husband (not a vegetarian) and he almost cried it was so good!
  • The Kind Diet - this is Alicia Silverstone's new book and I was really surprised that I use it as much as I do. A great book for someone interested in a plant-based diet but not completely sold on it. The first part of the book contains great information on health and how your choices affect the world around you. Try:Crispy Peanut Butter Treats with chocolate chips. They are made with out sugar, using only brown rice syrup and 1/2 cup chocolate chips to sweeten but they taste like a Watchamacallit candy bar...mmm so good!
  • Get It Ripe - written by Canadian vegan Jae Steele. I borrowed this cookbook from the library and had low expectations, for no other reason than I hadn't heard of it before. It soon became one of my favorites, Jae is a holistic nutritionist and offers pages and pages of health information, right up my alley!! Try: CowGrrrl Cookies....these are so wonderful
  • Sarah Kramer's cookbooks- She has several. The ones I own are: "How It All Vegan," "The Garden of Vegan," and "La Dolce Vegan." I refer to these cookbooks all the time, they are my go to cookbooks. Try: Portobello Cannelloni with Sun-dried Tomato White Sauce, it tastes better than the Mushroom Ravioli from Olive Garden (which use to be my favorite restaurant meal back in the day).
  • My Sweet Vegan - written by 19 yr old Hannah Kaminsky. All I have to say is : The Whoopie Pies.
Several of these books I have found at my local library and would be a good idea if you want to look through them before purchasing. At least one of them I traded for on Swaptree and it costs me nothing more than postage.

Vegan cooking is not boring or dull. Eliminating cheese, dairy and meat does not make it impossible to eat wonderful, flavorful food. You just learn a few new tricks.

Egg substitutes in baking:

Milk Substitutes:
  • Rice Milk
  • Hemp Milk
  • Soy Milk
  • Almond Milk
  • and many others
For butter, I always use Earth Balance margarine (I buy it at Kroger or Publix) and I use it for everything: frying, baking, on toast, etc. There are several other brands that you can experiment with until you find one you love.

The great thing is when you use these substitutes not only are you avoiding bad fats and cholesterol but, you are adding fiber, omegas 3s, protein, and many other valuable nutrients.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Beginners

For anyone interested in eliminating animal products from their diet, there are several starter kits available on the Internet.

- GoVeg offers one including recipes, you can order it for free or download it

-PETA , you can also watch "Meet your Meat," which in my advancing years I don't have the ability to watch, I have read enough and seen enough pictures to haunt me the rest of my life.

-here or here among several other sites

Once you know, you can' "un-know." The problem is most people won't allow themselves to be exposed to factual information. Because then they have to do something. They continue to think that if they don't look then it isn't happening. This is a dangerous way to live, for so many reasons.*

"To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest." -Gandhi

*It was the same for me when I became a Christian, I had seen the truth and though it required change on my part...I had no choice (though we are always given a choice), I saw the love of Christ and I couldn't look away.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tune in!

Tomorrow, Oprah is doing a whole show about where our food comes from. I can't remember the last time I watched Oprah but I will make a special effort to turn it on tomorrow. She will undoubtedly cover issues such as factory farming, natural health and veganism. Alicia Silverstone will be on the show. I ordered her book,"The Kind Life", from Amazon a few months ago and there are several recipes that I have tried and loved. Though Oprah kind of drives me crazy at times, when she covers a topic lots of people listen and in this case, I am very excited. Don't forget to watch it!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Vegan/Healthy on a Budget

Eating healthy is all about choice and a little bit of planning. Eating healthy is as expensive or cheap as you want it to be. Same is true when it comes to eating a vegan diet. The dairy-free/meat-free alternatives can add up (soy sour cream or veggie burgers for example) so buy them when they are on sale or only occasionally. I can say from my own situation that this way of eating can be very affordable and here are a few ways we make it work for us.

1. First and foremost, in general, we sacrifice a lot of things. We are a one income family, we are on a budget, we don't buy what we can't pay for with the money we currently have.

2. With that being said, we like food and we like eating well. We cook almost all of our meals and eat out maybe once or twice a month.

3. I think one of the biggest deterrents to improving one's eating habits is that you really need to eat some made-from-scratch home-cooked meals. I understand with a busy schedule this is not always easy. But making your own meals limits or eliminates the fat,preservatives, additives, added sugar and other unwanted items that tend to make their way into fast food or prepacked items. A few ways to make it possible is:

-find some simple and easy recipes that can be made in 30 minutes or less, something that is a no-brainer for busy nights (ie: spaghetti or a throw together casserole). Try starting small. Make a commitment to cook at least 3 homemade meals per week and once you are comfortable with it, add another day.

-make ahead meals (take one day and cook your meals for the week, you can even freeze them if you need)

-if you know what you're eating that week you can chop veggies a few days in advance or prepare large batches of rice or grain or beans and have ready in the fridge

-make extra - double the recipe and freeze 1/2 or if one meal calls for rice i will often make extra to be used in another dish or even for breakfast (just reheat with some non dairy milk, cinnamon, vanilla, agave or maple - you could even add raisins, flax meal,or chopped nuts)

4. I am not the most organized person but creating a weekly or even monthly menu is the best way to stay on budget, reduce food waste and never get stuck without something healthy to eat, which can easily lead to the drive-thru at McDonalds.

5. Buy in bulk. This is almost always cheaper and a great idea for foods you eat regularly and that have a longer shelf life (rice, dried beans, flour, grains, and even pasta)

6. Shop around. As much as I dislike Walmart, I can get my rice milk there for significantly cheaper than at other grocery stores. When I am there, I stock up.

7. Look for sales. This is a simple rule but it helps to keep you within budget. The bread we use is always going on sale, so we don't typically buy it unless it is. Then we freeze it. It thaws perfectly, tastes great and we saved money.

8. I rarely do anything "cold turkey." I just tend to give up when too many changes are made at once. Start small. If you are wanting to reduce/eliminate meat from your diet use up what you have first then decide to stop eating one particular type of meat at a time. If you eat meat at every meal, cut down to once or twice a week. Don't beat yourself up, appreciate the progress you make. If you are trying to eat healthier, start with one meal a day and concentrate on that. Breakfast is a good place to start because it tends to set the tone for the rest of the day. Include a large glass of water, focus on fiber (steel cut oats, whole wheat toast, etc), maybe a large piece of fruit. Avoid dairy, coffee creamers (full of chemicals and flavoring), replace sugar with agave or stevia...try to keep this meal all natural and full of nutrition. Once you have the hang of it, focus on improving how you eat at lunch or dinner.

These are just small, simple ways to not get overwhelmed, but that will make sticking with changes easier. Any other suggestions for eating healthy or vegan on a budget are welcome.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Best Vegan Pancakes

P and I make breakfast together every weekend. It varies between waffles, pancakes or french toast. But more often than not it's pancakes. We have tried a ton of different recipes and have finally come up with our own recipe for pancakes that we think it perfect! It's vegan and full of flavor while still being healthy.

This recipes makes about 8 pancakes or more depending on what size you prefer!

Preheat a skillet on medium while preparing the pancake batter.

2 cups flour (either spelt or whole wheat pastry will work)
4 t baking powder
1 t salt

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl

1 cup rice milk
1 cup soy creamer (we use original Silk creamer)
2 t vanilla extract
4 T canola oil
5-6 T ground flax seed

Mix all these ingredients together in a smaller bowl

Combine dry and wet and mix gently until all the flour is absorbed. We cook ours on medium heat for about 3 minutes (though this varies) on the first side and then 1-2 minutes on the other side.
Top with earth balance vegan margarine, agave nectar or maple syrup, or what P sometimes likes to do it use powdered sugar on his!

They are filling without being bricks. They are fluffy and the flax seed add a nice texture to them along with providing fiber, essential fatty acids and acting as a binding agent, much like an egg would!

Using spelt or whole wheat pastry flour is another way to add fiber to your diet. They both contain high amounts of protein and unlike refined white flour still possess all their vitamins and minerals.

Anniversary of a different kind

I have said in the past, as a joke, "Watch me, the one most concerned about health, be the one to get cancer." And I did.

A lump in my throat and two doctor's visits later...cancer. One of the two worst moments in my life. For those brief moments, after the words have been uttered and were left hanging there in the air, I wondered if I was dying. Just this strange thought. Not will I die, but was I dying. I instantly felt that my body had betrayed me. After that, I did what I always do when I am really afraid. I got quiet. I think a tear fell down my cheek, but other than that nothing. I don't think I asked any questions, I left that to P. He later filled me in on all the details I could not absorb (I had been instantly grateful on P's insistence on coming to this appointment even though I assured him that I had over-reacted and it was nothing).

It was thyroid cancer. Which I had never heard of before, knew nothing about. In my mind it might has well been lung cancer, because in that brief period of ignorance all cancers were equal. Having to then stand up and walk myself to my car, I remember nothing. I have a foggy image of my husband and I sitting in a restaurant, quiet and staring at each other. But autopilot had turned on. I could barely think.

Having to then go home and call my mother and speak the words was almost more than I was literally capable of. Because to hear it was one thing, but a wholly other thing to say it yourself..out loud. As if speaking it would further confirm it's existence. Also because at the moment, I was the third person in my family to have been diagnosed with cancer within the year. My grandmother and my father both were beginning treatments for cancer.

I had been told by the doctor/surgeon that I would need to have my thyroid removed and within the month. He made some joke about his surgical tool being in the shop and I think I unknowingly, at that moment, decided this man was not going to be taking a scalpel to or go anywhere near, my throat. That on top of his "you've got cancer" opener...you know I guess I was expecting to be taken to a dark room or something, maybe they'd draw the blinds, have a kind hand ready to pass me a kleenex, a counselor on standby should I need to process this news with a qualified professional...nope it was pretty much: "you've got cancer...any questions?" I liken it to a frying pan to the face.

The short version is: I got a second opinion, yes I had cancer, yes I needed to make a quick decision, but the good news is (and I heard this a lot) if I was going to have cancer, thyroid cancer is the best one to get. I guess that was mildly comforting as I walked under the Cancer wing sign at the hospital to sign myself in and have my thyroid (which I hadn't had the chance to appreciate at all) removed and tossed in some bio-hazard bin somewhere (sorry i just think in these terms). It became even more so that year as I watched my father lose his battle with cancer.

I remember a lot that went on in 2006, not because I am morbid or particularly enjoy
rehashing THE worst year of my life, but because I am even more appreciative of my life now having lived through that year, having lived my nightmare. When I start to complain about really insignificant annoyances or when I am in a bad mood, it puts things in perspective for me. Remembering that thought in the doctor's office, "Am I dying?" reminds me that I am living, so I need to live.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Trying to cut out refined sugar

I am constantly trying to use/eat only natural sugars and less of them at that. I use agave nectar for most things now, occasionally using maple syrup. Agave is just as sweet as sugar, is natural, easy to bake with, low on the glycemic index which means it won't raise your blood sugar and won't cause the inevitable sugar crash. It is also safe for diabetics. I don't buy prepackaged sweets. If I have a craving for a cookie or cake or pie, I have to get off my butt and make it. This sometimes helps to deter me from eating sweets all together, but not often enough!

Trying to cut out refined sugar is tricky though because it's in most processed and prepackaged foods. You have to be very conscientious about reading labels and avoiding some products all together. And it's not just in the obvious foods, it's everywhere, usually in the form of high fructose corn syrup. (HFCS has been linked to a rise in obesity, been found to contain measurable amounts of mercury and is thought to affect -ie:turn off- the part of your brain that registers that you are full). Products such as: table salt, peanut butter, dip, salsa, pickles, ketchup, barbecue sauce, chips, pretzels...to name a few. So even when you think you have your sweet tooth under control you're probably still eating more sugar than you should. Don't be fooled by it's other names, here are a few examples: evaporated cane sugar, beet sugar, fructose, dextrose (words ending in -ose are a good indicator of sugar), etc. I could not find one conventional can of red kidney beans in the store that did not contain high fructose corn syrup. I try to avoid it like the plague so now I only buy organic red kidney beans. For the longest time, it did not occur to me that beans would have sugar added to them.

I am happy to say that my tolerance for sugary foods has really diminished though. Foods I once loved, I can no longer eat. They taste so sweet to me now that they make me literally sick. It was a slow process. At first, I stopped putting sugar in my coffee, replacing it with stevia and eventually agave. I have stopped buying white, refined sugar and if I can substitute a natural sweetener in a recipe I will. I will also reduce the amount of sugar it calls for, more times than not it still taste great and doesn't really affect the final product. Sometimes i will eat some fruit when I am craving something sweet or make a smoothie using a frozen banana, 1/2-1 T natural peanut butter, rice milk, ground flax seed and a little maple syrup. Dried fruit is a great alternative when you want something sweet, too!


What is not a great substitute are sugar-free products (ie:aspartame,saccharin). Whether you live and die by the FDA approval or whether you are suspicious of a product that makes up for 70-85% of all the non-drug complaints made to the FDA, I would warn you to do your research. And know who funded that research...this is true for anything you read or hear ("Milk does a body good?"- always, always, always know who paid for the studies that were done, is there a conflict of interest)? Consumers complain of a whole host of health issues related to the consumption of artificial sweeteners. Including, but not limited to: anxiety, headaches, nausea and blurred vision. Some studies show that the use of artificial sweeteners can lead to increase food consumption, may deplete the body of certain minerals, is thought to block the production of serotonin (which can lead to depression) and can lead to cancer. There are a lot of other claims if you look into it, some unsubstantiated but a lot that makes you second guess ingesting chemicals of any kind, regardless of the FDA. Corruption is everywhere and whenever money and power are involved, sometimes your best interests fall by the wayside.

I am all about encouraging people to not take my word for it, but to look into things themselves. A few interesting books on this subject are:
-The Sugar Blues - William Duffy
-Get the sugar out - Ann Louis Gittlemen

I have more information I'd like to cover but it's almost midnight and I am tired!

Friday, January 22, 2010

H.Pylori

About a year and a half ago, when E was about 7 months old, I began having extremely painful stomach aches. At times, I would be doubled over or crying on the couch, unable to move. Other times it was just a nagging dull pain. I went to the doctor and had x rays and other tests done and was diagnosed with the H Pylori bacteria. Though glad to know I was a bit upset that I would need to quit breastfeeding and begin a two-week round of antibiotics. Once the two weeks were up I was still having stomach pain. I went back for my checkup appt where I was told that the antibiotics worked and got rid of the bacteria (though I was never retested in any way and not sure how she knew this). However, because I was still having the stomach pain my doctor decided that she wanted to put me on a protein pump inhibitor, told me there was nothing I could do to facilitate my own healing, and began talking about the possibility of having to take out my gallbladder. I was mad and freaking out. Even though I was in pain, I really didn't believe that I was anywhere close to needing surgery. She had no suggestions and wasn't particularly happy that I refused the rx for the proton pump inhibitor.
I went home and did a bunch of internet searching, confirming that I DID NOT want to be on a protein pump inhibitor and began trying to figure out if there was something I could do on my own.

I read what I could about ulcers, h. pylori, stomach pain, etc. I used several books that I already owned, including Prescription for Nutritional Healing and Digestive Wellness (which I had used in school for a class). I also read a lot if information on the internet. I decided, based on information that I had found to:
!. order some supplements that aid in healing the stomach lining
2. to begin a 3 weeks modified fast
I ordered supplements that night from Vitamin Life.

I ordered Organic Aloe Vera Juice and DGL Licorice root extract. Aloe Vera juice, typically used to treat and soothe exterior skin cuts and irritations, works equally as well on interior irritations, burning, ulcers, etc. I mixed it into fresh juices or sometimes drank it straight. Aloe Vera is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral. It's inexpensive and has a mild, unoffensive taste.

The same cannot be said for DGL licorice. It was recommended that I take the chewables since they would be better absorbed. DGL licorice is different than regular licorice and it is important to note that difference when taking it on any kind of ongoing basis. Ordinary licorice can elevate blood pressure if taken for more than a week. DGL (deglycyrrhizinated)licorice has that acid removed and therefore eliminating the side effect. Unless you are someone who loves the taste of licorice, these chews were almost more than I could stand. But I was desperate, and ate them everyday, several times a day for three weeks.

I also took flax oil, mixed in with fresh juices. Flax oil, among tons of other benefits, protects the stomach and intestinal tract from ulcers.
Lastly, I took probiotics. Since I had been on two different antibiotics for two weeks, I needed to replace to healthy bacteria.

For my modified fast I:
1. Cut out dairy, meat (which I never eat anyway), sugar (apart from some maple syrup), caffeine and basically anything that wasn't a raw fruit or vegetable or a slightly steamed/cooked fruit vegetable or a whole grain.
2. I drank 1-3 fresh juices a day, carrot based with any other fruit or veg I had on hand. I would almost always use organic carrots as the base and add in one or more of the following: beets, celery, apples, ginger, parsley, grapes, kale, etc.
3. I would eat raw (juices, nuts, dehydrated foods, raw bars) all day until dinner time, where I would eat lightly steamed vegetable, baked potato, whole wheat noodles or rice (I would use Bragg's Liquid Aminos or salt free spike, sometimes I would used vegan margarine on the potato).
4. I drank a lot of water throughout the day.
5. I also had BarleyMax on hand and would mix that into my juices sometimes, along with flax oil and aloe vera juice.

By the end of the three weeks (and really not far into it) the pain was gone and I have never had it again. It was a hard three weeks but well worth it and an easy alternative to surgery.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Books that changed my mind

I have read a lot, and i mean a lot, of books in the last 16 years. Books on health, nutrition, vegetarianism, veganism, and factory farming. I loved most of them, however the five books that follow significantly changed the way I think and therefore the way I eat and how I make decisions.


The Jungle - Upton Sinclair


I read this book when i was 14 or 15 and the veil had been lifted from my eyes. I was both horrified and unable to continue eating the way I had done my whole life.


Animal Liberation - Peter Singer


This was probably the first book that I read as a new vegetarian and it further confirmed that I was making the best decision. It was given to me by a friend of my mother's, Jean, the only other vegetarian I knew until I went to college!!


Diet for a New America - John Robbins



My all time favorite book on this subject. Though there was more to it than this, I instantly stopped drinking milk. I love John Robbins and I read this book every few years.

Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating - Erik Marcus


Erik Marcus wrote a very compelling book that began my desire to become a vegan.


The China Study - T. Colin Campbell


The China Study has all the scientific backup you need to help you convince others that eliminating animal products is essential for optimum health. This book helped convince my husband (who is not a vegetarian) that there is something to a plant-based diet.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Vegan Support

I don't personally know any other vegans. In fact, I don't know many other vegetarians. As a vegetarian of 16 years and an aspiring (though sometimes failing) vegan, it's been a long and, at times, lonely road. While I agree it's not a decision to be made because everyone else is doing it, I often have these daydream fantasies that everyone I know and love will come to their senses and join me. I confess the desire is as much born out of selfishness as it is for all bigger and more important reasons (health, animals, the environment).

Ok there I have said it. It's out there. I want a vegan community or at the very least a vegetarian support group.
Luckily, I live in the great age of the internet and there are so many supportive and informative website and blogs available. From vegan health information to animals activism to fabulously delicious recipe to vegan forums. I wanted to make a list of some of my favorite sites. These sites that follow have been so helpful when I have run out of fuel and needed motivation and renewed commitment.

1. One of my very favorite sites is Sarah Kramer's. This lovely Canadian vegan has written several vegan cookbooks and is my hero. Her cookbook, "How It all Vegan," was the first vegan cookbook that made it possible, really possible for me to consider veganism as a way of life. She's funny, her recipes are everyday great food, and she conducts herself in an approachable, non-judgmental way.

2. Regardless of your opinions on PETA, the information on their website in indispensable. Especially the section on vegan grocery store items. They have compiled an extensive list of conventional grocery store items that just happen to be vegan! This list is really helpful when you are on a budget and cannot always afford to purchase everything from a health food store. It's also great to print and carry with you while grocery shopping.

3. I cook every day, sometimes multiple meals. And though I have a great arsenal of vegan cookbooks, I visit VegWeb several times a week. All the recipes are submitted and you can search by category and by the amount of stars given to each recipe. From sauces to casseroles, raw food recipes or a recipe for toothpaste or deodorant, it's all there. Many of my favorite meals have come from that site!

4. VegNews is another site I check out regularly. The site is an extension of the magazine, which I subscribe to and there are recipes, product reviews, great articles and tons of other vegnews!!

5. A lot of people prefer forums where they can meet and communicate with other vegans, ask and answer questions and belong to an online community. They are many to choose from including:
-govegan forum
-the kind life
-the vegan forum

to name a few!

Depending on your interest, there are vegan sites for everyone, so much helpful information. A new one I have been visiting is:

6. Vegan Hope. This site is honest, encouraging and a great read. Check it out!